Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Review by Shellie: Thirsty – a novel by Kristin Bair O’Keeffe


This is a historical fiction novel with a theme revolving around faith and domestic violence.

About Thirsty:    The setting is the late 1800’s. Klara is a young Croatian woman whom meets her would be husband on the front door step or her father’s home. At once the two are linked. A chemistry of sorts, which is much deeper than it seems.

Driven by their intense attraction, and as a way to leave her abusive father’s home and the care of her many sisters and brothers (her mother is dead), Klara returns to America with her new husband to a town called Thirsty.

Thirsty is your typical factory centered town of the period. It is a place rife with racism, extreme social class distinctions, as well as smoke and greasy ash from the local foundry. This factory is the city’s economic engine providing a glimpse into the era; a time when hungry workers were essentially treated as a commodity and where their lives were as expendable as animals and very often lost.

As the story progresses we see Klara’s perspective, feel her strength, and hear her voice through her complex emotions as her life continues. As she becomes settled into the community and her life stumbles on, she realizes more and more, that her husband is very much like her father.

My Thoughts:    This historical fiction is at once heartbreaking yet lyrical. It looks at a person’s beliefs and patterns which are exchanged from generation to generation. In this case it is based on domestic violence and from my understanding is called “the cycle of abuse”. It is exemplified by the main character who watches as her mother is beaten by her father, and she in turn, by default chooses a man who is also of this nature. So this cycle continues -  sadly passing onto her daughter as well.

I enjoyed this little book. It is descriptive of this time and has a touch of the magical; several spectacular natural events, one of which is pictured on the cover (butterflies being my favorite). The author also has a sweet and easy to read writing style almost like poetry.

However, being a mostly secular person, I did have a tough time dealing with a complete page detailing “God’s Will”, where every other phrase contains the words “God’s Will”.  I see where this may appeal to those whom are passionate about their faith. My biggest problem with this, however, is that an abused women cannot wait on the “Will of God” to intervene. Those whom are being abused need to take the steps necessary to walk away from their abusers.

It is my hope that this is what the author intended, as a jumping place for a discussion around this scary and life threatening issue. To facilitate women into taking the life saving steps that are needed, beyond their religious beliefs. Other than my above concerns, I enjoyed this book. I give it 3 stars.

It is also important to note that the book contains graphic violence and that there is also strong sexual scenes running through its pages.

For more information on this book, purchasing links, as well as data about the author please see Layers of Thought’s preview for Thirsty.

A couple of other books which deal with Domestic Violence and are previewed here  on Layers of Thought are:

  • Mommy’s Black Eye by William Bentrim (links to preview) is an important book for anyone whom is experiencing domestic violence where children are involved.
  • Alone by Marrisa Farrar (title links to preview) is a vampire themed book where the main character is being abused by her partner.

Reviews for these two books are coming very soon.

*Please note that the Wikipedia reference for the cycle of abuse, linked in the body of the review above, needs attention from a professional whom is well addressed with the issue.*

Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.

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